At its base level, Google Trends (Trends) largely functions as a reference point for finding popular search terms and topics over a set period of time. Initially built to assist journalist, Trends is one of the most effective tools for blending legitimate search engine optimization (SEO) data with general market research. When used correctly, this free platform offers powerful advantages for higher education marketers.
With a collection of filtering options, Trends allows marketers to identify peaks and valleys in the relative public interest of specific search terms. The data can be sorted by date range, geography, and more. It’s important to note that the search query data represented within Trends is relative. By this, we mean that results are proportionate to time and the total number of searches within a geographical location, which is then displayed as a 1-100 score.
Here are a few ways higher education marketers have successfully incorporated Trends to their marketing strategies:
1) Developing content calendars – With clear indicators of how often specific terminology is used, peaks in admissions cycle phrases, and scholarship deadlines, marketers create content plans that follow these trends.
2) Reactive social content – Fresh, trending social media posts can be developed by studying trending topics on the exploration homepage. This dashboard gives marketers insight into the web’s most searched topics over the last 24 hours, highlighting opportunities to sync social content to terms with high traffic volume.
3) Time-based comparisons – Cross-referencing similar search terms to distinguish discrepancies in usage during various times of year can give marketers a leg up when developing future content.
4) Keyword research – Trends is an excellent complement to keyword planning tools, helping to find long-tail keywords that you would never have otherwise discovered.
Start with keyword research. Keyword research is one of Google Trends most popular uses in the higher education realm. This makes it a natural place to start when getting acquainted with the tool. Here’s how to get started:
1. Compile a list of broad keywords and phrases that you associate with your university.
2. Enter your keyword in the search bar for Trends associated with that topic.
3. Narrow by location and date range specific to your campaign and your target audience.
4. Identify peak date ranges, noticeable repetitions, wild curves, spikes, and drop-offs.
5. Utilize similar search terminology found in related queries to expand your keyword database or refine your search.
6. Consider the geodata supplied by Trends for PPC location targeting. Geographic dimensions can be narrowed down to a city level.
Many higher education students use Google as a main resource during their application journey, making Google Trends a critical component in collegiate marketing. By capturing search query behavior, keyword quality, and search volume, Google Trends offers greater insight into prospective students and develops a solid, data-driven foundation for your marketing strategies.
Ushering potential new leads down the student application path can be a daunting task. By using all of the tools available you can elevate your digital marketing strategy. Not sure where to start? Give us a call to and we can help you come up with a plan.